Currently on the road with IDestroy, Becky Baldwin chats to Victoria Smith about all things bass!
When, where and why did your dream as a musician begin?
Although I was always excited and inspired by music, I think the dream really started when I was about 12 and started listening to more music. That was when ‘enjoyment’ became more like ‘obsession’ and my taste became more streamlined, I started delving further into the rock genre on my own, rather than just listening to what my friends and family listened to. From there, it was almost like I assumed I would become a musician. I don’t remember the moment I stopped wanting to be a vet, but when the music started taking over my life, it seemed like that would be permanent.
When and why did you choose the instrument you did? Did this ever change, if so why? Also do you play multiple instruments, if so which is your favourite to play and why?
I got my first bass for my 13th birthday. I chose bass because I felt like I always noticed the bassist and thought they looked very cool. It also helped that my sister and best friends had also started playing guitar, so this allowed me to join in, but still take a different approach. Before getting a bass, I played piano intermittently throughout my childhood. Once bass started, that was a constant!
My main influence at the start of my playing was Lemmy. My Dad always played Hawkwind albums and I liked his lines on that, but once I discovered Motorhead I really felt like I had an idol! Later on I was heavily inspired by Cliff Burton of Metallica, and now I would say my favourite bassist is Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath.
Successes and failures along the way?
I try not to count my successes and failures. There have been many auditions I didn’t get, industry people who didn’t like my bands, etc, but there have been many great opportunities for me, too. I see them all as a journey, those bands or bookers who didn’t want me just wouldn’t have been right for me, which I can see now. I just try to focus on making the most of the the situations you have, but also taking risks and pushing yourself into new territory.
Any funny stories – lessons learned?
All of my stories are awkward or plain embarrassing and shameful! So I’ll just describe a slightly awkward occurrence. I was in Spain with IDestroy and we were dropped off at a restaurant to have our food before the show. Unfortunately, nobody working at this restaurant spoke English, and we didn’t speak any Spanish… Most of the band are vegetarian, but this show was in a fishing town, and this restaurant in particular had legs of meat and stuff hanging up everywhere. We tried to explain what we wanted, they kept bringing things we couldn’t eat… We didn’t want to take the piss so we ate what we could and tried to chop up and move around the rest of the food on the plate so we looked like we tried it. Then we tried to tell them we were done and we will wait to be collected for the show… but obviously they didn’t understand because they kept bring us more food… several times… They also started to seem very unhappy with us, we assume the festival probably only paid them a set amount to feed us and by this point, we’d had about 3 dishes brought to us, each. We still couldn’t explain to each other what was going on. In the end we had to do a runner and wait around the corner for someone to collect us. The lesson is that when you’re out gigging abroad someone needs to start learning the language!
Favourite gig you’ve played?
I have a few favourites – Triaxis at Bloodstock 2015, Fury at HRH Metal 2018 and IDestroy at Anfi-Rock festival in 2015. All totally awesome festival slots with an excited audience. I like all gigs and small stages are fine, but my favourite thing is to have lots of room to move around in!
Recommendations for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the business.
Take every opportunity and put your all into it. It’s a tough business, there’s no other way about it. Eventually you’ll start to see which avenues are not right for you, and which ones make you excited for the future.
Your future plans?
This interview has asked me for advice and I give it like I know it… But to be quite frank, I have no idea what I’m doing, I don’t really know what I want to do, or how to go about it. I still feel like I’m flailing around at the bottom of a very big pile, struggling to find a way to break through. I can imagine a lot of people feel this way. I just want to ‘make it’, the only way I know how to do this is to just keep working hard at anything I can, and maybe something will work. I would love to get to a point where things are easy and I can live a rock n’ roll lifestyle like it looks on the TV. But maybe that’s not even real! But there’s no plan B so I guess then plan is just… keep going!
More about your instrument specifically:
Which specific instrument did you started with and what is a good starter instrument? How much should you be willing to spend on a start up instrument?
My first bass was by a brand called ‘Chester’, it looked like a P-bass type thing. It was black, I really liked Linkin Park at the time, and it was cheap and came with an amp, lead and books. Happy for everyone! The bass was not good, but it lasted me the year and I got a more serious bass on the following birthday. For a first bass, I think it depends how committed you think you will be to the instrument, but around £100-£150 is fine. Buying second hand is useful, you can get decent gear very cheap as there are plenty of people giving up or moving onto new instruments all the time. But really, you can buy for almost any budget. There could even be freebies floating around your area. I have loaned basses to my students for months on end, I’m not sure if I will ever get them back! There is really no excuse to not try this instrument!
What do you play now?
I mostly play a Jetglo Rickenbacker 4003, but I have recently purchased a white 4001 (40 years old!), which is causing me all sorts of problems! I also play an American Fender Jazz Deluxe 5 string which is lovely! I use D’Addario strings on them all (the best!)
What is your dream instrument/setup?
I love my Rickenbackers, I wouldn’t want to change them. As for amps, I really like the idea of those Darkglass pedals and amps. Mind blowing distorted tones. I need to look into those a bit further!
Becky is currently playing with: